One of the unanticipated outcomes of the pandemic has been the enthusiastic embrace of the great outdoors and people discovering their local open space amenities. The public health crisis however also re-exposed LA’s public space crisis. The pandemic put a spotlight on the quality-of-life disparity between the rich and poor with the poor not only possessing little to no private open space of their own but also having access to fewer close-to-home parks. Furthermore, access to high quality public open space varies along socioeconomic lines with the poor having to travel greater distances to enjoy natural landscapes.
MacArthur Park is one of the oldest parks in the city in a neighborhood that has seen dramatic changes throughout its history – from an area of neglect, to an upscale neighborhood for the rich and powerful, to the birthplace of violent gangs, and now a vibrant and racially diverse neighborhood under intense gentrification pressures. The studio imagined a re-wilding of MacArthur Park while highlighting and building upon the unique characteristics of the park and its surrounding neighborhood.